Establishing a routine is not the same as being in a rut…Routine is conducive to peace and harmony in the home.
When my girls were small, I was a stay at home mom. My success at motherhood was defined by the level of peace and harmony in our home. I wanted home to be a haven for my husband and children. This became the focus of my life and the core of my being. I wanted everything to be perfect. But, while trying to create the perfect home, perfect meals, perfect family…I became a perfect mess. I became increasingly tired and resented all the work it took to create the perfect world I so desperately longed for.
I now recognize life was not so perfect but my precious daughters did appreciate the stability which the routines in our home provided for them. I realized this when I made the decision to go to nursing school just before my girls entered Jr. High. I had early clinical in Galveston one day and will never forget the phone call I received from my youngest daughter. She called and asked, “Mom, what do I eat for breakfast?” I recommended a bowl of cereal and she replied, “We have never had cereal for breakfast…you always cook”. It was then I realized in my efforts to create the perfect home, I had forgotten to encourage participation. You see, had I allowed the kids to participate with breakfast preparations rather than just serve them a meal, my daughter would have been able to use those skills to prepare her own breakfast rather than eat out of a cereal box. Did it kill her to eat cereal? Absolutely not but had she had the skills to prepare her own breakfast she would have at least had a choice. By establishing routines in the home and incorporating the family in those routines, our days will flow with greater ease.
I can hear you now…”I can’t get my kids to participate”. Well, been there done that and I do not have the perfect answer but I do have some suggestions based on my life lessons…
- Lighten up: Make things fun rather than a chore.
- Accept less than perfect: So the bed is made and it looks crooked…let it go
- Provide praise: Let them know when they do something right rather than remind them of all they did and do wrong.
- Make the consequences fit the offense: Minor and major offenses should not have the same consequence or outcome will not be as effective
- apologize when you screw up: Allow your child to see you handle mess ups and more importantly how you reconcile your ooopses in life
- Love freely: Never ever miss a chance to tell your family how much you love them and how important they are to you.
Now, you can establish routines incorporating the entire family. In doing so you will be providing some of the most important life lessons a child could receive.
When your children wake up do they know what to expect. Is your morning absolute chaos or is it even keel? By establishing a routine in the morning their lives become a little mor predictable. There are fewer unexpected and family time together is spent with the focus on family rather than the drama created by the unexpected. Break the big routine into doable pieces so the goal is no longer unattainable for them. Assign tasks that fit the child’s personality so they enjoy what they are doing. Often times prep performed the evening before can make a huge difference for your mornings. Prep could include: Loading backpacks, signing school work, baths, or laying out clothes for the next day
Ahhhh the moment everyone has waited for all day…Coming Home! No one wants to come home to chaos. Home is our haven and for most our greatest amount of time at home is in the evenings after school or work. Life at home can not be all work. By finding balance between chores and play home becomes more enjoyable. Allow you children to work with you rather than assign them independent tasks. In doing so, closer relationships are formed. Organization is key. Think about how you want your evenings to go and plan for them. Get your work list prepared, plan fun activities, and always allow time for talks and prayers at bedtime.
To this day my girls fondly remember our times around the dinner table. This was a time we all sat down and interacted with pleasure and respect. Dinner time was when we talked about the events of the day, shared funny stories or just relaxed and took it all in. Dinner was not a time for us to discuss negative subjects or to discipline the children. Turn off the TV and Radio; make dinner about the family. Allow your children to set and clear the table, prepare the meal, and wash the dishes. The result is two fold…the chores are done and excellent family time.
Bottom line is life is pretty unpredictable so why not add some predictability back into your home by establishing some routines.
Love Lee ♥